The Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center in La Grange will host the annual Heritage Festival & Muziky on October 15th and 16th. The Fest will open on Friday in front of the Main Center and TCHCC’s famous homemade chicken and dumplings will be served while it lasts in the Hanslik Banquet Hall beginning at 5:30 pm.
The Octoberfest on the Deck will begin at 4 pm with music by the Dujka Brothers, sponsored by the Texas Polka News, from 6 – 9:30 pm. Mark and John Dujka have been making music together for over 33 years and have several acknowledgements, including being inducted into the Polka Hall of Fame at the KC Hall in Hallettsville, and receiving a Favorite Song Award from the International Polka Association for their recording of Church Picnic Polka. The song is featured on their latest CD, Let’s Have a Party, which celebrates the duo’s 30th anniversary.
Saturday, the big day kicks off with an opening ceremony at 10 am. The La Grange Ford Hospoda will be filled with cold pivo and musical entertainment by the Ennis Czech Boys of Ennis, TX and the Czech Melody Masters of Austin from 11:00 am to 6 pm.
Enjoy more music at the Muziky, Muziky event from 7-9:30 pm in the Sanford Schmid Amphitheater. Always a popular part of the Heritage Fest, this year will bring back the Legends Series, Part VI featuring 124 Years of the Leo Majek Orchestra, Czechoslovakia to Texas with Master of Ceremonies, Alfred Vrazel. The Majek family originally settled in Cameron, Texas and then moved to Corpus Christi. The show will contain many tales and stories of over a century of the famous family band. Finishing off the night with a bang will be the HEB Fireworks Show above the Amphitheater.
STROLL THE VILLAGE
In addition to enjoying the great music, you’re invited to stroll the Czech Village, an early 1900s recreated village complete with residential houses, barns, and stores. Demonstrations of early life for the immigrants will take place throughout the grounds all day, including working in the saw mill, the operation of the Czech Newspaper Museum press and engine, blacksmithing, corn shelling and grinding, hay pressing, and the making of textiles, soap, noodles, sausage, honey and wine. Children activities will be available along with many other activities for everyone to take part in. Plenty of food and cold beverages will be available as well.
An antique farm equipment show sponsored by the South Texas Wheel Spinners & Crank Twisters Club and an antique/classic car show by H&H Automotive and Farmer’s Insurance will spread through the village. Vendors and craft booths will be available for your shopping pleasure. Visit the country store for some good buys, including fresh, stone-ground corn meal for cooking. The Janak Barn & Texas Czech Agricultural Museum displays farm practices and implements from the late 1800s to 1940. Reminiscing of the Dožinky (Harvest) Fest in the Czech Republic, Horse-Drawn Wagon Rides will be available through the grounds during the day.
The Czech Village houses two music museums. The Czech Music Museum of Texas, located in the Kalich House, features four genres of Czech music – classical, folk, polka, and liturgical. The Polka Lover’s Club of Texas Museum, located in the Hoelsher House & Huebner Center, features a display of Texas polka bands, as well as memorabilia and photos of the Polka Lover’s Club of America, Texas Chapter.
Inside the TCHCC Main Center, stop by the Czech Gift Shop to browse the brand-new stock of authentic Czech items, T-shirts, caps, crystal, periodicals, music CDs, and new Christmas decorations for 2021. Enjoy the current exhibits at the center: Wedding Apparel & Traditions of the Past in the Museum and the updated Military and Glass Exhibits in the Library.
Have you always wondered about your Czech roots? The spacious Melnar Library will offer help with genealogy research. The Hanslik Hall will be the site of the annual KJT State Taroky Championship. Swing in there and they’d be happy to teach you this fun card game. Plenty to do for the entire family! Come and Czech out the fun!
Article contributed by the Texas Polka News, & TCHCC. Photos by Gary E. McKee.